January 9, 2014

First morning after Sweden changed from driving on the left side to driving on the right, 1967

"I was just following the other guy."


Follow through

2013 has drawn to a close and 2014 has commenced. I spent 10 days in Stockholm where it wasn't snowing and not that cold. This was the warmest December in 50 years, I was told.
I walked around, visited the monument of the Andrée Expedition, the graves of the three Swedes who attempted to reach the North Pole by balloon in 1897.
The monument is a tall concrete sail, depicting the efforts of the party and charting the haphazard journey of the balloon, the three graves facing outwards from this point. It is on a small hill, surrounded by trees on three sides, and I felt a stillness there that I still think about.

Like balloons being controlled by the wind, most things rarely go in straight lines. I think Agent Cooper mentioned that in an episode of Twin Peaks (I added the balloon bit to reiterate the pertinence of this phrase). Though everyone has pretty much uttered that sentence in one form or another at one or more points in their lives. Sayings like that make sense because they are true. An occasional reminder however, never goes amiss.

I have been thinking about following through. Usually when I think about following through, I am thinking about cricket, as that is what bowlers do once the ball has left their hand. As I have now retired from my cricketing career (as of 10 years ago - I decided to quit while I was ahead, I had peaked by 16 I believe) I apply this thought to myself in terms of ideas. I have ideas all the time, sometimes words, sometimes images, written on post-it notes at the library, sketches masking taped to the wall at home by my desks, laboriously scrawled in my journal, mentioned in passing to a friend.

And then nothing really happens.

An idea doesn't get any better the longer you ruminate over it. It isn't a cheese, or whiskey, or wine, or anything else that matures. It doesn't rot, like fruit or eggs. It is more like a loaf bread that gets left out - it just goes stale.

I have been working on a sculpture for over a year now. Knitting fishing line. How I envisage it now is nothing like what I first considered doing with it. The more I work at it, the further the ideas evolve. Today Kjell asked me if it would ever be finished. I said I didn't know. The process knitting the straight line into interconnected loops functions as much as a way for ordering my thoughts as jotting them down or uttering them aloud.

If there is one thing I have learnt through spending over twelve months knitting fishing line in my spare time, it is that I personally do not make much progress in my thought process if I am not working on something. Need to keep the hands busy so the brain ticks over. I have spent 2013 attempting (somewhat in vain) to figure out 'what it is I want to do'. I have not made any great strides forward in that rather vague endeavour. But I believe, as with the knitted fishing line, that if I follow through on ideas which have occurred to me throughout the past year or so, act upon them, then perhaps I will be closer to realising this. 

2014 is the year of the follow through. I'm calling it now.